Mitsubishi’s last hand of cards in the US is it’s latest facelifted Mitsubishi Outlander SUV which goes on sale this fall. If it does not do well, Mitsubishi might have to pull out of the US market.
Mitsubishi’s fate in the US hangs on the hopes that it’s newly redesigned Outlander, Lancer and other vehicles sell well. Sales for Mitsubishi in the US were 123,995 units in 2005, down from 345,111 in 2002. That is a huge drop. Every product development dollar counts now. Sales are already down 16% this year. Hopefully the numbers will be boosted again when the Outlander SUV goes on sale. Mitsubishi has a good image as a four wheel drive vehicle manufacturer globally, especially with the hugely successful Pajero model. It hopes to re-establish it’s SUV image in the USA.
Mitsubishi dealers in the US have cited lack of advertising as one of the problems which contributed to dropping sales figures. “We have some of the finest automobiles in the U.S., such as the Eclipse and Eclipse Spyder, but nobody knows about them. I don’t think they have enough funds to spend in the U.S. As a franchise, we’re not moving and shaking,” says Bill Seidie who has a Mitsubishi dealership in Miami.